Saturday, April 6, 2013

Winkler/Rucker's KISS THE ABYSS: Low-budget horror movie fizzes -- then fizzles

For long-time horror-movie fans like myself, it's always enticing to be offered a look at a new and original film in this genre. Or one that is supposed to be new and original, at least. Such a film is KISS THE ABYSS, an 85-minute, very low-budget excursion into the realm of Frankenstein-cum-zombie movies, in which a sexy, much-in-love couple (played by Nikki Moore and Scott Wilson, shown below, respectively left and right) must endure pain, death, after-life and more pain in their attempt to remain together.

Co-writers Eric Rucker and Ken Winkler and double-duty director Winkler make very good use of their small budget, cobbling together with intensity and originality their story via swift editing and a smart use of a before/after time-frame. Once we figure out what's going on and how the two situations we see are connected, a little of the steam goes out of the movie and it becomes pretty much exactly what it looks like: A let's-reanimate-the-dead adventure/thriller/horror film, in which our heroine is the one who gets reanimated.

The dialog includes some interesting Biblical allusions, the visuals offer a bit of sexual sleaze to keep us on our toes, and the editing turns what might have been a standard Frankenstein movie into something at least a bit more rich and strange. Unfortunately much of what comes after this is more routine, and the mid-section proves a little tired. But then things pick up again at the finale -- if your taste runs to the grotesque and ugly (see above and below).

What budget there was seems to have gone primarily to special effects for the final section, and while these are perfectly acceptable, they are also simply what they are, rendering the film just another in the slasher/thriller/horror/sci-fi genre-mash. Which is too bad because Ms Moore and Mr. Wilson make a fine pair of lovers: she's sweet and sexy, he's hot and hunky and also possesses a nice, easy-going quality that's rare for a male lead in this kind of film.

The subsidiary characters are well-drawn, too: her dad (clearly a criminal of sorts), her weak brother and especially the trailer-trash vodoo doc (a nice job by Douglas Bennett, above) who handles the death-to-life transformation. Essentially an OK time-waster, the movie may still offer genre lovers a few thrills different enough to make that time wasted also worthwhile. From Monarch Home Entertainment, the movie is available now on DVD, for sale, though not rental at this point: Blockbuster doesn't carry it, and you can only Save it to your Netflix queue (not a good sign, as the movie has been available now for over a month). Well, maybe they'll stream it eventually....

No comments: